19 September 2008

Katie Ford

[from Katie Ford's Colosseum, Graywolf Press, 2008]


We drove through Wyoming passing people on horseback, noon horse shadows like those of caskets lifted up, the dead sitting up through pine boxes, looking at the strange reins in their hands. Once we were in the mountains we saw no animals, no birds. Green signs beside the granite rocks dated them back to the Triassic Age, Mississippian. On the opposing hill, the trail the goats wore down coming to water curved like a strand of hair, a single hair, unmassed. You said stop the car. Look at that, you said, pointing at the strips of ice-age rock, settling. A mountain range is simply a crease in the land is how it was taught to me. A crease is the foresight of division, you were taught. Desperate for communion, Catherine of Siena was beside herself in hills like these, eating nothing but an herb she would suck on and spit out. She scalded herself at the baths, ran away to a cave, shoved twigs into her mouth so that when the host traveled down her raw throat she would indeed feel something, even a god breaking inside her. Would you look at that, you said again near the rail of the viewpoint, where the historical marker explained the plates underneath. Beneath it, a crow's wing. Lord of confusion, Lord of great slaughter and thin birds, you could never answer all of us at once. Layer by layer I imagined pulling it apart to find the upholding musculature beneath the soot and grease of flight. Finding none — just the spinelike axis and its branching barbs, minute hooks holding them together — we continued on to the hotel parking lot in Sheridan, where at night someone scraped a key or a knife alongside the car while we slept off what we could. It was hard to tell what was used. There was nowhere to fix it. There was no talk of ever fixing it.

Colosseum: Poems

1 comment:

  1. I have given you an award.